Drugs with potential against coronavirus in human trials - (China Daily via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Three existing drugs deemed promising in working against COVID-19 have entered human trials in China, with some patients demonstrating improvement, reported China Daily.

  • Chinese scientists had sifted through 70,000 drugs and chemical compounds during an initial round of screening for promising medications and narrowed their focus down on 5000 applicants, said Zhang Xinmin, head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development.

  • Later, 100 drugs were selected for in vitro trials and three drugs that hold promise, namely chloroquine diphosphate, favipiravir and remdesivir, are undergoing human trials in the country.

  • Chloroquine diphosphate, mainly used to prevent or treat malaria, is under trial in more than 10 hospitals in Beijing and Guangdong province, enrolling over 100 patients. Remdesivir, an experimental drug originally created by company Gilead Sciences to test against Ebola, is undergoing clinical trials both in China and overseas, according to Zhang.

  • Researchers in Guangdong's Shenzhen city are also carrying out human trials using favipiravir, an antiviral drug that inhibits the influenza virus. More than 70 patients have participated in the trial program, including those on placebo. 

  • "Three to four days into the trial, the proportion of infected patients who turned negative for the virus is significantly higher for patients administered with the favipiravir than the control group," Zhang added.

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